Video: A Retro-Sci-Fi Tour of Mars Rover Curiosity’s Awesome Chemistry Lab

As we approach the Mars rover Curiosity’s landing Sunday night, we’re having a lot of fun seeing all the promotions — there are all kinds of videos, museum exhibits and road shows to help explain what the newest interplanetary explorer will do. Below is a great new one from the American Chemical Society.

Curiosity is a well-equipped geologist, traveling to Mars with a suite of tools to bake and pulverize rock, but it’s also a trained chemist, capable of detecting the ingredients necessary for life as we know it. It’s the first explorer to be able to do this.

The rover’s 10 science tools basically serve as a mobile chemistry lab, containing everything the rover and its managers on Earth will need to determine whether Gale Crater was ever habitable. The American Chemical Society produced this lovely sci-fi-esque video to explain what these instruments are capable of. It’s even scored by Holst! Watch deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada lead a tour under the hood in the video below.

Earlier, NASA enlisted some “Star Trek” stars to narrate video of the new rover’s landing, which you can watch here. But this one has even more fun, harking back to 1950s-era sci-fi movies.

Check back often for the latest rover updates, and for our live coverage of the landing next week!